Dancers in Company kicks off its season at Space/Place

BY SARAH LARSON | MARCH 04, 2010 7:30 AM

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Move your feet and shake your hips — it’s time to get down.

Dancers in Company will take the stage at 8 p.m. today through Saturday in North Hall’s Space/Place. Admission ranges from $5 to $20. An hour of excerpts from the concert will produced at 3 p.m. March 7; admission is free.

Dancers in Company is a troupe of UI students who experience what a career as a dancer might be like after college with grueling rehearsals and long hours. The high-level touring group consists of 11 females and one male.

“All the dancers are fantastic,” director Eloy Barragán said. “Every year, the dancers put their hearts and their bodies and their minds in it. That’s why Dancers in Company is so exciting. [The members] are there because they want to dance.”

Daily rehearsals from 5:30 to 8:30 fall on top of all the performers’ regular coursework. The group started out with 12 female members but had to have a male fill in after one of the dancers was hurt.

The various pieces that make up the repertoire contributed to the challenges the dancers faced.

“It’s really cool because it’s nice for the audience to be able to see all the different types of dance,” UI senior dancer Kendall Rutherford said. “But it is a challenge as a dancer to be able to go from one style right into the next style, because there’s only 12 people in the company. Everyone is dancing a lot.”

The choreographers were helpful in making the style changes necessary and staying focused, she said. The dance and elementary education major, who has been a member of the company for three years, said contemporary is her favorite style.

Barragán said one of the important goals of the company is to bring art to the community. The dancers will perform at different schools throughout a tour of Iowa towns.

He views Dancers in Company as an ambassador for the dance department and the university. Last year, the troupe traveled as far as Mexico City. Its representation of the school is one of the reasons for its wide repotoire.

“With the repertory we selected, we tried to show to the audience and to the kids a different range of different genres,” Barragán said. “It’s versatile: from ballet to modern to jazz to hip-hop to contemporary ballet. That way, there’s not just one style of dancing.”

Barragán is in his third year directing Dancers in Company, but this is the first time he is directing solo. The native of Mexico City has had much experience in dance, ranging from performing in the Royal Academy of Dance in London to the Joffrey Ballet in New York. He also choreographed two of the seven dances for the company’s upcoming show.

Other choreographers included UI faculty members Annett Schaedlich-Hendrix, Deanna Carter, and Armando Duarte. Guest Carl Flink and international guest choreographer Jaime Camarena also contributed pieces.

“[The dancers] get the fantastic experience of working with different choreographers,” Barragán said. “Many times, they are works that are created only for them.”

He is excited about the show, he said, and excited that the audience can experience the choreographers’ gifts.

“It’s a great opportunity to see these great student dancers,” he said.

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